February 14, 2015 8:20 AM | Lena LeRay
Dark Echo is a very simple game. The player is a pair of feet in a sea of darkness, tasked with finding the exit in each level. With every step, the sound of the player's movement (represented visually) bounces off the walls and gives the player the information they need to move forward. White is safe, red is dangerous, and the exit glows more strongly than do regular safe areas. At first the game is easy, but after a few levels a monster starts chasing the player through the darkness, and the player must navigate pathways blindly but swiftly to escape.
From that description, the game might sound visually-impaired friendly, but that's not the case. It's a top down game intended to be played by the sighted, though the game is best played with headphones for atmosphere. The monster isn't the only red spot that makes sounds; you can guess at what the other dangers are as you approach them. And of course, the sound of the player's footsteps echo hollowly through the mostly-empty halls. Ironically, the game is hearing-impaired friendly, since everything the player needs to play is communicated clearly in bold colors.
The game might seem familiar to those who paid attention to Ludum Dare 26, since Dark Echo began there as You Must Escape. Under the theme Minimalism, the game won second place overall in the 48-hour compo. Although the original was browser-based (and is still available) this new version is exclusive to iOS devices. It's translated very well to touchscreens and the visuals and sound are much nicer.
Dark Echo is available on the iOS app store as a universal app for $1.99.